Something in common

The Bears aren't the only team with quarterback problems. The Lions have two young QBs, but neither has developed as they'd hoped.

Blame the injuries, blame the players, blame the coaches.

Blame the previous administration, blame the new administration.

Blame it on bad drafting; blame it on bad personnel decisions.

Heaven knows, there is plenty of blame to go around as the Lions plow full speed ahead toward another disastrous season with a 1-5 record and a five-game losing streak after losing 38-7 to the Dallas Cowboys.

As Coach Steve Mariucci went to work Monday there was virtually nothing -- except perhaps PK Jason Hanson -- he could point to as a strength, a position around which he could build in preparation for the game Sunday at Chicago.

Quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon have hit all-time lows, but Mariucci has decided to start Harrington against the Bears.

"You know we can only hope that he continues to work and develop a certain work ethic in the meetings and study and understands the offense better and the defenses better as he grows through it with the rest of his team," Mariucci said. "Often times a quarterback may be drafted to a team early because the team hasn't been winning, so there is a lot of wholes to fill. So he has to grow up on a rebuilding sort of environment."

Harrington's passer rating has plummeted from 116.0 after the Lions' first game to 56.8 after six games. Since throwing four touchdowns against Arizona in the season opener, Harrington's interceptions have outnumbers his touchdown passes 10-3. It is uncertain if a forefinger dislocated in the Sept. 21 game against Minnesota is responsible for some of his errant throws.

"Keep in mind he's a young quarterback with a young supporting cast as well and so they're all kind of trying to learn together here," Mariucci said.

If the rest of the team plays as poorly as it did against Dallas, the quarterback won't make a lot of difference. The Lions' receivers have an undeniable propensity to drop catchable passes, the running game is virtually non-existent, the defensive line has been unable to pressure opposing passers consistently and the defensive secondary has been burned play after play.

What made the latest loss so distasteful was that Mariucci and some Lions players felt they were making progress, that they were close to turning the corner after winning just five of 32 games in the past two seasons under Marty Mornhinweg.

There is no doubt that injuries have hurt the Lions. In addition to running back James Stewart, they have lost three cornerbacks -- Chris Cash, Andre' Goodman and Chris Watson -- and their prize rookie wide receiver, Charles Rogers, is expected to miss at least three more games with a broken collarbone.


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